Dining Room Before and After

So, when we bought this house, pretty much everything was terrible.  The dining room was no exception.  I mean, can anyone tell me if there was ever a time when that fan was awesome?  The door-curtain and blinds really just pull the room together….not!




There were four elements to this room that we kept: this corner shelf and the smaller bookshelf, the pecan flooring which is original to the house, and the window size/placement.  Everything else was torn out- plaster and lathe ceiling and walls, wiring, windows, floor/window trim.


We also got rid of the “front” door, which was oddly on the side of the house.


These windows were from about 1910.


Nathan tore out this fireplace and the 2-story exterior chimney that was smack dab in the center of the house-attractive!- one brick at a time.  It took about a week.  We replaced it with a front door, which you’ll see in a living room post.


Oh hey, we think we might like playing house!


This cabinet stayed, but I sanded and varnished the inside of it and installed new hardware.  Our cabinet maker built a new face for it since this one got even more torn up than pictured here when we were tearing out the walls.


Here’s the shelf after a lot of TLC.

What?  You don’t think the Walmart bag of stuff, a flashlight and a random small bowl are good decorations?


And an after photo of the dining room- much better!  After about 6 hours of painting, the corner cabinet is black, and I love it!

The paint color in here, as well as the living room (well, really, the dining/office nook/living room is just one big room) and the kitchen is Benjamin Moore’s Monroe Bisque.


The curtains were a surprise find at Home Depot, and just what I wanted.  I was looking for something dark to contrast with the light walls, but I didn’t want anything that looked heavy or formal.  They are just sheer enough to do the trick!


A post wouldn’t be complete without a picture of Watson!  This rug and the one in our living room were our big splurge.  They are totally worth it though since our whole house is either wood floor or tile.  They definitely warm up the space AND make our feet happy.


Oh yeah, this light was my other big splurge.  You can find it here.  All our other lighting came from the hardware store, but I wanted something really unique for here.  If we ever move, I’m totally taking it with me.


My much-craftier-than-me sister made me the moss covered “S” for Christmas, which is awesome.  Does anyone have any suggestions for getting it to stay on the mirror though?  I’ve been using duck tape to secure the ribbon to the back of the mirror, but it slowly inches its way down the mirror until the “S” is actually partially below the mirror, and about once a week, I have to take the mirror off the wall and re-tape the ribbon.  Hmm…didn’t someone once say that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?


The table was a generous loan from my aunt who moved and didn’t have room for this table in her kitchen anymore.

And…ignore our pile of stuff in the background.  Even though our big projects are finished, we still have lots of small things to do around the house, thus the piles of stuff here and there.

My next project in here is putting a big DIY sign on the wall behind the table, and maybe bringing in a small upholstered chair for the left wall, right above the floor vent.  Next up: before and after of the kitchen.


This Week’s To-Do’s and a Porch Tour

We’re still working away on our house, and this week, I’m feeling the craziness of keeping up with normal life, as in jobs/coaching/groceries/book work/regular cleaning/church music/meal making, while also continuing to finish up details around our house.  Here’s our to-do list for this week:

-Mow Lawn

-Plant Grass

-Put flowers in pots inside and out

-Install hardware and hanging bar in laundry room

-Clean porch windows inside and out

-Paint both exterior doors, inside and out

-Clean bricks (this is to get the remaining mortar residue off)

-Organize/clean downstairs cabinets (bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, and porch)

-Collect, price, hang and label garage sale items

-Clean up pile of remodeling tools in porch


It’s time for some before and after pictures of the porch.  Really, we should stop calling it that now that it’s a totally functional, heated/cooled room in our house.  We could call it the mudroom/music room, but I’m guessing it will always be “the porch”.


When we bought the house, there was hardly anything left to the “enclosed” porch, as you can see.


The porch was obviously an addition, and they just built around the siding and door that had previously been the outside of the house.

When the picture above was taken, the person taking it was standing in the porch, looking in at the kitchen.


After a lot of TLC, our porch is now a functional mudroom.  I don’t know what we’d do without these lockers.  When we come in the house, our reasonably dry shoes go into the drawers, coats and scarves get hung on the hooks, and hats and gloves go in the cabinets at the top.  Also, I would have never thought about this, but there’s three steps separating the porch from the kitchen.  If we ever build a house, I’ll totally copy that idea.  The steps keep dust/dog hair/dirt from blowing into the rest of the house.

Rust Walls,


The porch also doubles as a music room.  I can see myself adding either a big mirror or chalkboard on that wall, some big baskets to hold teaching supplies and shelves above the piano to add some visual interest to the very tall, empty wall.



Baby Shower for Ashton {Orange and Blue Baby Boy Shower}

My mom, sisters and I put together a baby shower for my cousin Ashton and her baby boy, due in June.  It was such a fun party to celebrate the new baby, and we loved the excuse to make and eat lots of yummy treats.


We had carrot cake, slices of cheese cake with strawberries on top, chocolate cup cakes, fruit kabobs, and cream cheese/cucumber sandwiches on little squares of rye bread.


My sister made the orange and blue cloth pennant banner and we hung it to the wall with stick pins.


I found the clear glass cylinder vases at Target for $10, filled them with little oranges and tied a ribbon around it.  Thank you Pinterest for an inexpensive centerpiece that I can use again at home!


I made the banner on the cake with cake pop sticks, scrapbook paper, thick string and a glue stick.  I am one of the most un-crafty people ever, and I did that in about 30 minutes.


For favors, we put homemade carmel corn in little bags, stuck on the label and displayed them in a couple of baskets.



The clothes line was my mom’s idea, and it turned out to be the cutest thing!  Eva and I had a great time putting it together.  We used duct tape to get the string to stay on the underside of the mantel, and then hung up the orange and blue clothes and bibs that I found at Carters.


Aunt-to-be McKenzie, my sister Therese, and me.


McKenzie, Ashton (the mom-to-be), and their Grandma Madelyn

Thanks to Therese for helping me put together the paper flowers!  Nathan said they looked like truffula trees!



I love this picture of my niece Madelyn!




For drinks, we had orange and cucumber flavored waters and orange punch.




My sister also made the “Welcome Baby” sign.  It was such a cute idea!  I’m planning to copy it in pink and blue pastel for another baby shower I’m having next weekend.


My sisters and cousins- in age order!

Left to right: Eva, McKenzie, Therese, Me, Ashton, Krista, Megan




We played baby bingo, baby trivia, and finish the nursery rhyme.  We had some good laughs over the baby trivia!


Ashton had lots of little helpers!


My sweet and serious niece, Elliana